Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the nuclear deal reached with world powers earlier in the day recognizes Tehran’s “rights” to maintain an atomic program.
The remarks came just hours after Iranian envoys and world powers reached a first-step accord in Geneva aimed at easing Western concerns that Tehran could one day seek nuclear weapons.
Rouhani’s reference to “nuclear rights” in the nationally broadcast speech touched on the country’s demand to keep its uranium enrichment program.
“No matter what interpretations are given, Iran’s right to enrichment has been recognized,” said Rouhani, who later posed with family members of nuclear scientists whose slayings in recent years Iran has blamed on Israel and allies.
He said that in a final deal, Iran’s nuclear enrichment will be able to proceed “similar to the past.”
In his speech, Rouhani repeated Iran’s claim that it would “never” seek atomic weapons, calling the accusation a “historical joke,” and praised the Iranian team that carried out the negotiations.
He also praised the guidelines offered by Ayatollah Khamenei to the nuclear negotiators.
He said talks for a final deal would begin immediately.